In one of the most famous montages in motion picture history, Rocky Balboa runs through the streets of Philadelphia before running up the 72 stone steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art – a stirring metaphor for rising to any challenge. Seth Pierce channels Rocky’s climb on most weekends and many weekdays as he makes his way up the 148 steps comprising the Santa Monica stairs over and over again. With an affinity for simplicity and the mindset to always rise to a challenge, Seth utilizes his climb to work through challenging issues, both personal and work-related.
A self-proclaimed “simple guy with a long fuse,” Seth appreciates the Zen in most situations, particularly nature and the outdoors. He longs for majestic redwoods, pristine beaches, and infinite mountains; a place where solitude and peaceful existence give way to understanding, introspection and clarity – on any issue.
Seth’s passion for simplicity extends into his practice. Sitting behind the hoary, rustic wood desk in his office, Seth often says “if I can explain my case to my ten year old – I can explain it to anyone.” Whether hiking in Mammoth, doing the stairs in Santa Monica, or presenting his case, Seth will always rise to the challenge of keeping things simple – even when they aren’t.
Chair, MSK Class Action Practice Group.
Class action defense/complex litigation, including advertising, consumer fraud, privacy, employment discrimination, wage and hour, intellectual property, and product liability matters.
Employment litigation defense (individual claims), including discrimination, retaliation and trade secrets matters.
Commercial litigation, including unfair competition/17200 claims and investor/shareholder disputes.
Class Action Defense and Other Complex Litigation – Consumer/Product:
- Successfully defended international consumer electronics company in series of proposed nationwide and state-specific class actions alleging breaches of express and implied warranties, the Magnuson Moss Act, and state consumer protection statutes in connection with the sale of high definition televisions.
- Defended and successfully resolved nationwide a class action against a multi-billion dollar shipping company alleging false advertising and fraud in connection with the company’s monthly subscription service.
- Defended and successfully resolved multiple nationwide class actions alleging breaches of express and implied warranties and consumer protection statutes in connection with the sale of innovative building integrated solar panels.
- Defended and successfully resolved a nationwide class action against a fast- growing internet fashion company accused of failing to adequately disclose the terms of its monthly continuity program.
- Defended and successfully resolved large, national product manufacturer in a series of proposed nationwide and state-specific class actions alleging false advertising and consumer fraud in connection with advertising and sale of an innovative weight loss program.
- Defended and successfully resolved nationwide product liability class action seeking more than $1 billion in damages on behalf of more than 500,000 class members.
- Successfully defended California-only class action accusing national security company of recording customer calls without consent.
- Defended and successfully resolved California-only class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, and statutory consumer fraud in connection with client brokerage firm’s revenue sharing agreements with various mutual fund companies.
- Defendant and successfully resolved California-only class action accusing international consumer electronics company of recording customer calls without consent.
- Defended and successfully resolved multiple California-music label alleging that certain of its music CDs improperly downloaded an anti-piracy rootkit program (when played on the consumer’s computer) that violated the consumer’s privacy rights and degraded computer system performance.
- Defended and successfully resolved, in bankruptcy proceedings, government and private claims, including 17200 private attorney general actions and class actions, against one of the nation's largest subprime mortgage lenders, alleging massive consumer fraud, false advertising and unfair competition in connection with the company's lending activities.
- Defended and successfully resolved federal and state false advertising and unfair competition claims instituted by a competitor, against a leading, nationwide scanner distributor in connection with its most successful product.
Class Action Defense and Other Complex Litigation – Employment:
- Successfully defended major television network and production company in nationwide class action alleging race discrimination in the selection of participants for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette reality television programs.
- Defended and successfully resolved multiple wage and hour class actions filed against multiple major television and film studios alleging FLSA and state overtime violations in connection with the payment of production personnel.
- Defending multimedia entertainment company in California-only class action alleging FLSA violations in connection with the operation of a tour service.
- Defended multiple major television production studios and networks in, and successfully resolved, a series of precedent-setting nationwide class actions alleging age discrimination in the hiring of television writers. Mr. Pierce was lead settlement negotiator for all of the defendants (networks, studios, and talent agencies) and insurance carriers that participated in the industry-wide settlement.
Employment Litigation - Individual:
- Defended a production company (and certain related affiliates) and successfully resolved breach of contract and fraud claims brought by the executive producer of a highly successful courtroom reality show in connection with his profit participation agreement.
- Successfully defended local television station against allegations of age discrimination by on-air talent.
- Successfully defended television network and production company against allegations of race discrimination by on-air talent.
- Defended and successfully resolved multi-plaintiff discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against engineering company.
- Defended and successfully resolved age discrimination lawsuit against major television production company.
- Defended and successfully resolved gender and age discrimination lawsuit against major television cable network.
- Defended and successfully resolved sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against major retailer.
- Defended and successfully resolved multiple whistle blower lawsuits against major retailer.
Complex Litigation – Commercial and Investor Disputes:
- Prosecuted and successfully resolved federal and state law false advertising and unfair competition claims against client’s competitor related to fraudulent affiliate marketing. Sought and obtained a preliminary injunction regarding the practices in question.
- Prosecuted and successfully resolved dispute related to buyout of senior officer’s shares in well-established retail marketing company.
- Defended and successfully resolved dispute related to buyout of senior officer’s shares in well-established retail marketing company.
- Defending dispute related to termination of senior officer’s employment and related buyout of his shares in start-up enterprise.
- Defended and successfully resolved eight lawsuits around the country alleging fraud and various state and federal securities violations in connection with a failed $400 million 144A private placement of debt securities.
- Successfully defended hard disk drive manufacturer against $400 million breach of contract and breach of warranty action arising out of the sale of hard disk drives. Named one of the National Law Journal's "Top Fifteen Defense Verdicts of 1999." Amstrad plc v. Western Digital (Orange County Superior Court).
Honors & Awards
- AV® Preeminent™ Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
- Southern California Super Lawyers (2006-2011)
Professional, Business and civic Affiliations
- Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
Other Career Experience
- Litigation Associate, Irell & Manella (1997-2002)
- Litigation Associate, Shearman & Sterling (1996-1997)
- October 10, 2022
- September 21, 2016
- April 11, 2016
- Law360, June 21, 2018
- June 15, 2015
- Less Than Zero: Why California Class-Action Bill Does Not Live Up to its Hype and is Actually Bad for DefendantsWestlaw Journal, March 2011
- Westlaw Journal, March 2011
- Trading One Crisis For Another: How Certain Proposed "Reforms" Could Turn the Subprime Crisis into a Constitutional OneNavigating the Subprime Lending Industry, Leading Lawyers on Understanding the Subprime Collapse, the Causes of the Current Lending Climate, and the Industry's Pending Future, May 2008
Notable Published Decisions
- Hammond v. Stamps.com, Inc., Civ. No. 15-605, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141355 (D.N.M., September 23, 2016)
- Claybrooks v. ABC, Inc., 898 F. Supp. 2d 986 (M.D. Tenn. 2012)
- In re Hitachi TV Optical Block Cases, Civil No. 08cv1746, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90882 (S.D. Cal., August 12, 2011)
- In re Hitachi TV Optical Block Cases, Civil No. 08cv1746, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135 (S.D. Cal., January 3, 2011)
- California, 1996
- U.S. District Court
- Central District of California, 1996
- Northern District of California, 1999
- Southern District of California, 2008
- Northern District of Illinois, 2011
- Northern District of Indiana, 2010
- Eastern District of Michigan, 2011
- Western District of New York, 2011
- Northern District of Texas, 2008
- U.S. Court of Appeals
- Ninth Circuit, 2011
- Tenth Circuit, 2016
Cornell Law School, J.D., 1996; Order of the Coif; magna cum laude
Hofstra University, B.A., 1993; magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa